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Letter from Publisher

Headshot of publisher Peggy Malecki

Peggy Malecki

As April unfolds in the Chicago area, we enthusiastically greet the start of spring and the beauty and wonder it brings to all of our senses. Although we’ll officially observe the 54th Earth Day on April 22 (see for details), I like to think of April as Earth Month (and actually, each day of the year as a new opportunity to make a positive impact on this planet).

This month, we focus on our theme of Eco-Travel for all ages—a timely reminder of our responsibility to cherish and preserve the Earth, its inhabitants and natural features as we explore its wonders. As travelers, whether for leisure, cultural immersion, eco-volunteering or on a weekend afternoon, we have the power to tread lightly and leave a positive impact on the places and people we visit. In our feature story, “Sustainable Travel, Wanderlust with the Earth in Mind,” writer Sara Kaplan explores how mindful travel near or far from home can enrich our human experience while nurturing this planet we call home.

In addition, we hope to inspire outdoor enthusiasts. From tips on preparing your body for long treks to nurturing young minds through travel experiences beyond the classroom, we aim to empower you to embrace outdoor adventure and connect with the world around you. Closer to home, writer Sheryl DeVore explores this year’s once-in-a-lifetime Midwest cicada event, Melinda Myers helps us to get our backyards ready for spring and Veronica Hinke offers tasty, seasonal recipes for enjoying spring peas.

I've been fortunate over the years to travel with family and friends. As a kid, we took to the backroads each June, stopping at small towns and regional and national parks of the U.S. and Canada (as well as visiting historical sites and museums in the big cities), leaving the interstates whenever possible. My parents sought out local diners, state park campgrounds, bird-watching ponds, antique shops, natural areas and less-crowded locales. The printed AAA TourBook led the way to unique attractions (Mitchell Corn Palace; the Nevada State Fair; a talking Paul Bunyan statue; and the "world’s largest" Easter egg, near Edmonton, Alberta, to name a few). I learned to read and properly fold maps, find our accommodations, keep a daily travel diary, document our trips with photography, and track state and provincial license plates. While our world constantly evolves, the memories of these places and adventures, and the lessons learned, are woven into my worldview and the tapestry of my life.

This Earth Month, we recall some words of wisdom that remind us of our duty to protect and cherish our planet. As Jane Goodall once said, “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Let’s try to heed these words as we embark on our journeys, remembering to tread gently, and with respect and reverence for the Earth and all its inhabitants and places.

I encourage you, as always, to set an intention to step outside daily and watch our Chicago area spring progress. Marvel at freshly opened leaves, observe the arrival of early migratory birds, look for native bees visiting ephemeral flowers, feel the chilly rain and northeast wind on a blustery day and watch for the rise of the Pink Full Moon. Wishing you a month filled with adventure, enlightenment and the joy of connecting with nature.

                          Happy April!